Colin Briggs scored three goals to pace No. 2 Virginia (6-1) to an 11-9 triumph over the No. 14 Cornell Big Red (3-2) on Saturday afternoon, in front of 17,057 in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic, inside M&T Bank Stadium.
With the victory, Virginia head coach Dom Starsia owns 322 career wins, needing five more to pass Jack Emmer (326) for the most triumphs while coaching at a NCAA Division I school.
UVa goalie Adam Ghitelman registered his 43rd career win between the pipes, setting an ACC record for career goalie wins, breaking a tie with Duke’s Dan Loftus, who accomplished the feat over five seasons from 2004-08. Ghitelman now sits No. 7 all-time in NCAA Division I history with 43 career wins.
“It was a good win for us against a quality team,” said Starsia. “I have deep – deep respect for Cornell over the years. This is the end of a long stretch of a lot of lacrosse for us – seven games over the past three weeks and I don’t think we have been particularly sharp in the last week. There wasn’t a lot of magic in the air today for us – seemed like we struggled on offense, but we worked hard and our effort was able to carry us through today.”
Cornell scored first when Virginia defensemen Matt Lovejoy and Scott McWilliams were picked against each other behind the cage, allowing All-American Rob Pannell to score unassisted with ease 1:27 into the game. Chris LaPierre quickly tied the game at 1-1, after picking up a ground ball and scoring in transition. The goal literally blew through the back of the net with 10:49 left in the first quarter and the game was delayed five minutes as the net was fixed.
The Big Red scored again on a Pannell unassisted score, followed by a Roy Lang score, giving Cornell a 3-1 lead. The Big Red did not trail in the game until the fourth quarter, but UVa managed three ties in the process, the second coming at 3-3 after a Rhamel Bratton unassisted goal, followed by Briggs’ first score with 11:10 left in the second stanza.
Lang scored again, followed by a Mike O’Neil goal, giving Cornell a two-goal lead, 5-3, with 4:55 left before the intermission. Briggs scored again on the run with 1:05 left in the first half, finishing the second quarter scoring and sending UVa into the break with a one goal deficit, 5-4.
Pannell secured the hat-trick for Cornell, pushing the Big Red’s lead to 6-4, inserting a goal into the cage with 9:53 left in the third quarter, starting the second half scoring. John Haldy kept it close with a score 40 seconds later, cutting the Cornell lead to 6-5. O’Neil scored nearly three minutes later, giving Cornell a two-goal lead for the final time, 7-5.
Virginia scored four-straight goals, taking a two-goal lead of its own, 9-7. Rhamel Bratton’s behind the back unassisted scored with 11:09 left to play in the game gave UVa its first lead of the game, one the Cavaliers never relinquished. Shamel Bratton capped the four-goal run after his brother put UVa up.
Rob Emery’s second goal of the game and another score by Chris Bocklet pushed UVa’s score to 11, rendering Pannell’s fourth goal and Lang’s second score fruitless as the Cavaliers held onto the triumph.
Virginia was strong on faceoffs, winning, 13-11, as Ryan Benincasa went 12 of 19 on the day to lead the Cavaliers. Virginia ended up outshooting Cornell, 43-38, after the Big Red led that category most of the day. Cornell won the ground ball war, 42-35, while UVa made more saves, 13-10.
Ghitelman made 13 saves, giving him 467 career stops, jumping from No. 10 to No. 8 all-time in the UVa annals, passing Tom Groeninger (1988-91) and James Ireland (1991-94).
Virginia returns home on March 19 when Ohio State comes to Klöckner Stadium for the first time since 2001. Faceoff is slated for 3:00 p.m.